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Singapore, A Journey

Singapore is known for its developed economy and high living standards. It has been named as the smartest country by several economists. But Singapore was not always a bright country. In fact it was a country with corrupted officials and dark slums inhabited by pirates. But how did it glow up to be one of the best countries to live in? Let’s see how a nation rose up against all odds.

Singapore is located in Asian continent off the southern tip of Malay peninsula. The history of Singapore dates back to 14th century when the kingdom of Singaura was ruled by king Parameswara.

Britain and Singapore

Stamford Raffles

In 1819 Stamford Raffles, a British statesman of the East India Company landed on Singapore in search of a trading site. He realized that the Singapore was a best location as it had a natural deep harbor with a supply of fresh water nearby with timber. Also it was located in the main trade route between China and India. At the time the island was ruled by the sultan of Johor who was controlled by the Dutch. But the sulatanate was weakened as the officials favored his brother Tengku Long who lived in exile. Raffles managed to bring the Tengku Long back to the Singapore and helped to be recognized as the ruler of the island and instead Raffles was able to establish a trading post in Singapore. A formal treaty was signed between two Singapore and the East India Trading Company and the modern Singapore was born.

It was estimated that about 1000 people lived in the island and soon after Raffles arrived the population increased rapidly. Large number of Chinese migrated to Singapore and by the 1871 the population reached 100,000.

East India Trading Company lost the monopoly of China trading in 1833 and soon after that incident they lost the interest in Singapore too. The settlements were transferred to rule under directly colonial general in India and in 1867 the island was named as a crown colony under the colonial office in London.

World War II and Singapore

In 1942 Japanese landed on the Singapore after attacking pearl harbor in the previous year. One week later the island was surrendered by the British to Japan and until 1945 the Singapore was ruled by the Japanese. From 1946 after the Japanese surrendered to the allies the island was handed over back to the Britain and Singapore made progress as a separate crown colony.

In 1959 Singapore became a self governing country yet Britain had the power over defense and foreign policy. In 1968 Britain announced that by the end of 1971 all British forces would be withdrawn from the east and southeast Asia except Hong Kong. At the Beginning of the 1970’s Singapore’s economy growth depended mostly on export manufacturing and trade.

Singapore was a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN and by the 80’s it had emerged as one of the leaders in ASEAN. Singapore suffered from the Asian finance crisis of the late 90’s but recovered in early 2000 due to strong manufacturing sector. Then again Singapore had to go through global recession in 2008/09. But the country managed to recover by the 2010 and for that recovery the growth of the service sector made a huge contribution including tourism which was benefited after legalized casinos opened on 2010.

Singapore developed better diplomatic relations with the neighboring countries during the 21st century. Singapore and Indonesia signed an agreement in 2006 which gave permission to establish special economic zones in islands off the Indonesian coats. In 2010 six ASEAN countries including Singapore signed an agreement with China that established a large tariff free trade zone in the region.

Singapore in the Present

Photo by Timo Volz from Pexels

Singapore is known as a global city as it shows characteristics of a global city including wealthy, diverse, connected and creative though Singapore imports many of its necessities.

50 years ago Singapore was an undeveloped country with one of lowest per capita incomes but today it has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Also it was filled with slums in the history but throughout the years people were able to move into planned housing facilities. Singapore also focuses on the development of technology. The Singaporean government encourages free trade which brings many international investment opportunities. Due to its high technological facilities and easy investment strategies the country has become a regional hub for several international companies.

A country cannot prosper without a decent government. The main reason behind the success of Singapore is its government. Lee Kuan Yew was the man who turned Singapore into a prospering country. And he made sure that the government to be free from corruption. The government policies for economy and finance are all well planned in order to maintain a corruption free country. And the funds are used 100% for the benefit of the citizens. Which played a huge role in bringing economical stability within the country.

The journey of the Singapore is one of the most encouraging stories in recent history.

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